#MTBPS2015: Higher education to see decrease in annual growth spending

#MTBPS2015: Higher education to see decrease in annual growth spending

Government spend on post-school education and training would see more moderate increases over the next three years, according to the medium-term budget policy statement (MTBPS) presented by Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene in Parliament on Wednesday.

Nhlanhla Nene in Parliament
Gallo Images

Over the last three financial years (2012/13 to 2015/16), government had increased its expenditure on post-school education and training by 10.5 percent.

In the latest MTBPS, however, treasury allocations to this function of government showed an average 6.3 percent increase from 2015/16 to 2017/18.

The announcement followed an urgent meeting between government, tertiary education institutions, and students, on Tuesday following two days of protests over fee increases.

Initial protest action against fee increments began at the University of Witwatersrand (Wits) last week and had a spillover effect at other universities across the country this week.

The meeting between Higher Education and Training minister Blade Nzimande and Wits Vice-Chancellor Adam Habib and his counterparts culminated in a deal to cap increases in 2016 university fees at six percent as a short-term solution. Students, however, rejected the deal stating they would not cease protest action until a “no fees” deal had been reached.

Commenting on the protest action, Nene remarked: “We have been reminded this past week of the challenges of financing the expansion of further education and university opportunities.”

However, said Nene, “[it] needs to be said that disruption of learning is not constructive”.

Despite the moderate increase in higher education spend, Nene added that Nzimande had “rightly indicated the need to strengthen student financing further, and to find solutions where current arrangements are inadequate”. - ANA

(File photo: Gallo Images)

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